Posts Tagged ‘A Place I’ll Always Go’

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Death is cruelly indifferent, and no matter how expected or seemingly random it is, Palehound’s Ellen Kempner understands as much as anyone. In relatively close succession last year, the Boston-based songwriter faced the unforeseen death of a friend, and the passing of her grandmother, and was left reeling as a result. Palehound’s second full-length album, A Place I’ll Always Go, cannot help but be informed by these experiences. Channeling her grief into honest songs about mortality and the search for closure, the album reveals details from her personal life like never before.

Still, for all its rumination, this album gradually projects a flicker of light amid the darkness: During this same tumultuous time, Kempner found herself entering into her first healthy relationship. A Place I’ll Always Go grapples not only with the contradictory flood of emotions and guilt that arise when attempting to move on, but with the burgeoning excitement of new love. Recorded in late 2016 at Brooklyn’s Thump Studios with assistance from Gabe Wax (who also worked on Palehound’s superb 2015 album, Dry Food), A Place I’ll Always Go galvanizes its bedroom confessionals with Kempner’s dexterous finger-plucked arpeggios and buzzy guitar melodies, and the propulsive rocking energy of drummer Jesse Weiss and bassist Larz Brogan. Palehound adds richer instrumental shadings on the album’s bookends: Palehound’s unflinching songs are also a celebration of life and embrace of love, and an empathetic reflection on how endings usually lead to beginnings.

“Carnations” is taken from Palehound’s latest album, A Place I’ll Always Go, out now.

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The death of a loved one is an inevitable aspect of life for everyone, but we’re never quite prepared for it. Whether it’s unforeseen or expected, it’s always a shock that can send us reeling when it happens. Ellen Kempner, the Boston-based songwriter and guitarist of Palehound, understands this firsthand. In relatively close succession last year, Kempner experienced the sudden death of one of her close friends and, later, the decline and passing of her grandmother. “I have been pretty lucky my whole life up until now to have not lost anybody significant to me,” Kempner tells NPR. “It’s always been one of my biggest fears: losing family or a friend … Honestly, the only way I could think to make sense of it was to write songs about them, for them, and about myself in the midst of it all.”

On A Place I’ll Always Go, the forthcoming follow-up album to Palehound’s superb 2015 debut, Dry Food, Kempner documents this tragic period of her life in revealing detail, channeling her grief into compassionate and relatable songs that mull over love, mortality and the lingering ache felt with their absence. She also grapples with the overwhelming, sometimes at-odds floods of emotions and guilt that arise when attempting to get back to everyday life — which can often feel insignificant in the aftermath of loss, but is crucial to healing.

The results can be heard on the new album’s galvanizing first single, “Flowing Over,” which both captures Palehound’s trademark sound — scrappy and buzzy guitar rock, bolstered by Kempner’s dexterous riffs — and, thanks to the band (which now features drummer Jesse Weiss and bassist Larz Brogan), also offers some darker, nuanced shades that evoke the album’s themes. On “Flowing Over,” Kempner is as direct and personal as ever. “And I know your words are sugar but now’s not the best time for me / I’ve got teeth with roots down to my feet,” she sings before careening into the cathartic chorus, “Flowing over ’til I’m empty!”

Kempner says she wrote “Flowing Over” as “kind of a callout to myself to get my act together. I have really bad chronic anxiety and always find myself doing things that perpetuate it, like listening to a sad song when I’m already super down. It’s a masochistic habit I have of psyching myself up so intensely that I explode and then spend the rest of the day feeling helplessly exhausted.” And while Kempner describes listening to sad songs in order to feel better, “Flowing Over” feels like the type of song people might turn to in their own tough moments.

When coupled with a fantastic music video, “Flowing Over” takes on a different meaning. Featuring the Boston League Of Women Wrestlers (or BLOWW), the video, directed by Jay Buim, depicts a group of women and non-binary wrestlers preparing for a match: They suit up into wild, colorful costumes and evocative makeup; assemble their DIY ring; and do some stretches. And then it all erupts into an all-out, action-packed melee — full of flips, chokeholds and pummeling faces into mats. While the ferocious, fun exuberance matches Palehound’s heavy power chords and gnarly hooks, the video also infuses the song with a message of inclusion and empowerment.

In a statement to NPR, Kempner reflects on the video’s origins:

The first time I saw BLOWW perform, their energy was so intoxicating that I couldn’t get them out of my mind for days. Watching other women/non-binary people exert so much of their time and energy into their passion, I immediately felt inspired to step up my game.

“Flowing Over” is taken from Palehound’s album, A Place I’ll Always Go, out June 16th, 2017.

Boston’s Palehound, lead by fierce vocalist and prolific creative force Ellen Kempner, has announced the sophomore album “A Place I’ll Always Go”, released in June on Polyvinyl Record Co. The collection is a frank look at love and loss, cushioned by indelible hooks and gently propulsive, fuzzed-out rock. As Kempner explains, “A lot of it is about loss and learning how to let yourself evolve past the pain and the weird guilt that comes along with grief.” 

This year has really probably been the best year of my life, especially as a musician. I can honestly say that almost every show was great. At the end of 2016, right after recording A Place I’ll Always Go, I was feeling super anxious and unsure about touring a lot. Playing shows and travelling used to make me feel super vulnerable and paranoid. I can truly say that this year has turned my relationship to touring around and I feel the opposite about it, I am so excited to tour more. A lot of this is because ya’ll were so amazing and supportive and made us feel really special at shows. Thank you so much for that. Cannot wait to tour with Weaves in February, I love that band a lot and have a really good feeling about that tour.

Also wanna say that this wraps up our first year with Larz touring with us. Jesse and I have been touring together for 3 years and the addition of Larz to our band has been hugely awesome for us. I love Jesse and Larz so much and can’t wait to keep working with them on touring and new material.

Happy holidays, hope everyone has a pleasant end to their year. Sending extra love to all the beautiful people reading this who may have a hard time with the holidays and going home to family.
Love, Ellen

Since forming in 2014, Palehound have taken their plainspoken, technique-heavy indie rock from the basements of Boston to festivals around the world. Boston’s Palehound, lead by fierce vocalist and prolific creative force Ellen Kempner, Their second album “A Place I’ll Always Go”,  released June 16th on Polyvinyl Record Co. The collection is a frank look at love and loss, cushioned by indelible hooks and gently propulsive, fuzzed-out rock. As Kempner explains, “A lot of it is about loss and learning how to let yourself evolve past the pain and the weird guilt that comes along with grief.” 

Creative force Ellen Kempner is revered for her distinct, whispery alto, sterling musicianship and honest, wry lyrics. Very proud to share this new video for “Room” animated/directed by the amazing Rozalina Burkova.

Rozalina captured femme friendship/love in such a beautiful way that I feel perfectly represents the song. so lucky to have worked with her.

“Room” is taken from Palehound’s new album ‘A Place I’ll Always Go,’ out now!

Have you heard the new Lomelda album yet? I’m streaming it right now and on the verge of tears, it comes out really soon you have to check it out.

Other things you should check out are the new Tall Friend and Thunder Dreamer! Why? Because they rule AND they’re both coming on tour with us soon which is awesome.  I really can’t wait to play with/forge deeper friendships with them. I can’t wait to tour again in general, our last tour with Waxahatchee was super fun.

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“A Place I’ll Always Go” is the follow-up to 2015′s excellent debut “Dry Food” . Led by Ellen Kempner, Dry Food was an easy album to become enamored with. Chock full of 90s riffs and Kempner’s spot-on lyrics; it was and is on constant rotation.

A Place I’ll Always Go is a little tougher to connect with initially but no less rewarding. The album was born during a time of loss and new love. Kempner lost not only her grandmother, but a very close friend; tough at any age but especially so at that bullet-proof part of your life known as your 20s. As all this was going on, Kempner began a new relationship. “The album is also about learning how to find love, honestly, after loss,” says Kempner.

“Feeling Fruit” is among the best work Kempner has done. It is a gentle ballad where Kempner emerges into the world after a time of mourning. Supported primarily by her able picking, Kempner’s whispered lyrics really pack a punch.“If You Met Her” is another gut-punch of a tune. Wishing for her deceased friend to meet her new love, Kempner’s lyrics speak to someone wise beyond her years.

Mixed in with the ballads, there are a couple of fuzzy rockers. The lead single Flowing Over is about using sad songs as a coping mechanism. The fact that its a rocking tune really works here (and the video is outstanding as well). Carnations is another winner. Its another rocker but it feels like Kempner is letting is on some secrets as she delivers her vocals in a hushed manner; almost hiding beneath the backing music.

Kempner has the chops to be a force for years to come. If she keeps knocking out efforts like Dry Food and A Place I’ll Always Go, I see no reason that doesn’t come true.

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The sophomore album from Boston trio Palehound, A Place I’ll Always Go, is a frank look at love and loss, cushioned by indelible hooks and gently propulsive, fuzzed-out rock.

Ellen Kempner, Palehound’s vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter explains, “A lot of it is about loss and learning how to let yourself evolve past the pain and the weird guilt that comes along with grief.”

Kempner’s writing comes from upheavals she experienced in 2015 and 2016 that reframed her worldview. “I lost two people I was really close with,” she recalls. “I lost my friend Lily. I lost my grandmother too, but you expect that at 22. When you lose a friend—a young friend—nothing can prepare you for that. A lot of the record is about going on with your life, while knowing that person is missing what’s happening—they loved music and they’re missing these great records that come out, and they’re missing these shows that they would’ve wanted to go to. It just threw me for a loop to know that life is so fragile.”

Palehound’s first release for Polyvinyl is also about the light that gradually dawns after tragedy, with songs like the bass-heavy “Room” and the gentle dreamy album closer “At Night I’m Alright With You” feeling their way through blossoming love. “The album is also about learning how to find love, honestly, after loss,” says Kempner.

Since forming in 2014, Palehound Kempner, drummer Jesse Weiss (Spook The Herd), and new bassist Larz Brogan (a veteran of Boston DIY who, Kempner posits, “had 13 local bands last year”)—have taken their plainspoken, technique-heavy indie rock from the basements of Boston to festivals around the world. A Place I’ll Always Go was recorded in late 2016 at the Brooklyn complex Thump Studios with the assistance of Gabe Wax, who recorded Dry Food. “I would put my life in his hands,” Kempner asserts. “I trust him so much.”

Palehound in this episode of the Pickathon Slab Series.

A Place I’ll Always Go builds on the promise of Palehound’s critically acclaimed 2015 album Dry Food with songs that are slightly more reserved, but no less powerful. “Flowing Over” rides a sweetly hooky guitar line, with Kempner using the fuzzed-out upper register of her voice as a sort of anxious counterpoint to the riff’s infectious melody. “That song is about anxiety,” says Kempner, “and when you’re sad and you listen to sad music to feed it and feel yourself spinning all these ‘what if’s and ‘I’m terrible’s in your head.”

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“This record represents a period of time in my life way more than anything I’ve ever written before,” says Kempner, who notes that the swirling “If You Met Her” and the piano-tinged “At Night I’m Alright With You” could represent the opposing poles of the record. “One of them is about love, and the other one is about death—it was a really healthy experience for me to find my own dialogue within that,” she says. “There’s so much that you learn and read, and other people’s experiences that you internalize, that you try to then base your own on. It was helpful to carve my own path for that.”

Part of what makes A Place I’ll Always Go so striking is the way it channels feelings of anxiety — heart-racing moments both exhilarating and crushing — into songs that feel well-worn and comforting.

The hushed confessionalism of “Carnations” and the fugue state described in the stripped-down “Feeling Fruit” are snapshots of moments marked by big, confusing feelings, but they’re taken with compassion and honesty—two qualities that have defined Palehound’s music from the beginning.

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I became enamored with Palehound, the band fronted by Ellen Kempner, when her debut album “Dry Food” came out in 2015. They play a great band of 90′s influence indie and Kempner is a boss on the guitar. A Place I’ll Always Go will be out on June 16th via the fine folks at Polyvinyl Records. Here’s some info on the record and the lead single.

The collection is a frank look at love and loss, cushioned by indelible hooks and gently propulsive, fuzzed-out rock. As Kempner explains, “A lot of it is about loss and learning how to let yourself evolve past the pain and the weird guilt that comes along with grief.”

“Flowing Over” rides a sweetly hooky guitar line, with Kempner using her upper register as an anxious vocal counterpoint to the riff’s infectious melody. The video offers a look at the tight-knit community, showmanship and sportsmanship of the bombastic Boston League Of Women Wrestlers (BLOWW). “The first time I saw BLOWW perform, their energy was so intoxicating that I couldn’t get them out of my mind for days” says Kempner. “Watching other women/non binary people exert so much of their time and energy into their passion, I immediately felt inspired to step up my game.”

“Working on this video was a dream come true,” added Heather Mack of BLOWW. “It was so cool to have a chance to document the real life, behind-the-scenes process of stepping into our badass rasslin’ personas, from wig taping to trash talking to the main event, where we got to show off our chops in a fun, supportive environment. We are huge fans of Palehound and were so honored to be asked to represent the energy of this song in such a unique and powerful way.

“Flowing Over” is taken from Palehound’s new album, A Place I’ll Always Go, out June 16th, 2017.